The first official day of San Diego Comic-Con 2017 was yesterday, and we are doing shows live (to tape) from the belly of the beast.

Being our first day back to SDCC in three years, we discuss what’s changed in the intervening time, including a brand new requirement to bend the knee and pledge fealty to Rick Grimes. We also discuss some of our strategies for working the floor, some interesting observations about the state of the convention, and some protips on how to ask a question at a panel (The protip being to ask a question, and remember that your life story is not a question).

We also discuss some observations and news tidbits from the Karen Berger / Paul Levitz panel, and the DC Meet the Publishers panel!

And a few points to remember:

  • We encoded this episode at a slightly lower bitrate than usual. We did this to try to save bandwidth and to ensure we’d have enough space to deliver episodes from San Diego Comic-Con. So we apologize if the sound isn’t quite as clean as it usually is. Luckily, you don’t need a lot of bits to record drunken profanity.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work.
  • While we will be uploading podcasts periodically throughout the convention, you should follow us on Facebook for uploads of photos and other media we grab during SDCC.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

Some weeks, you don’t record a podcast when you’re ready. You record when you’re awake.

Rob had a long weekend of late nights being on call for his day gig, leading to a slim, two-hour window where he’d had enough coffee to be able to say something longer than his own name, yet not enough liquor to actively slur those things. And this strange state put him in a mood to rant. About the golden days of Marvel after the bankruptcy and before Civil War, when they were willing to take chances. About acceptable Mark Millar stories. About how Batman’s most driving personality trait might be hoarding. And, God help us, how there might be redeeming qualities to Secret Empire.

So strap in: this is a weird one, and we talk about all of those things, plus:

  • Old Man Logan #25, written by Ed Brisson with art by Mike Deodato, Jr.,
  • Secret Empire #4, written by Nick Spencer with art by Leinil Francis Yu,
  • Dark Days: The Forge #1, written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV, with art by Jim Lee, Andy Kubert and John Romita Jr., and:
  • The Defenders #1, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by David Marquez!

Ah, we have disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you don’t want to know Captain America’s political affiliation on Secret Empire, well, you’re not alone, but you have also been warned.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. We talk about Batman being a Howard Hughes style hoarder. That involves Mason Jars. You want your mom to know what’s in those jars? Then get some earbuds.

Thanks for listening, suckers!

willard_scottAll right, it’s our one hundredth episode. Let’s not make a thing out of it. Seriously: we don’t. Sure, we spend a few minutes reflecting on where we are and where we came from, and maybe have a little too much Liquid Celebration to commemorate making it this far, but honestly? There was too much comics and genre news this week to spend too much time naval gazing.

We start off by discussing this week’s announcement that Star Wars: Episode VIII has been delayed from May to December, 2017. We talk about how the rumor is that the screenwriters want to rework the story to focus more on Finn and Poe, and how the move is a slap in the face to the fortieth anniversary of the debut of Star Wars… but mostly we talk about how waiting for a Star Wars movie is different when you stop being half a decade away from being just a glint in your dad’s eye and start being half a decade away from being a card-carrying member of AARP.

We move on to the news that Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat is leaving the show in favor of writer and longtime fan Chris Chibnall… eventually. You know, after 2016, when there will only be a Christmas special. And after Moffat’s farewell season sometime in 2017. Chibnall really should read The Late Shift, that’s all we’re saying.

But that’s not all! Being that kind of week, it was also when Bleeding Cool ran some stories about DC Comics maybe rebooting the DC Universe, maybe returning it to its post-Crisis, pre-New 52 state… or maybe about them doing not very much at all. So we discuss the rumors versus the actual concrete knowledge, and wind up bemoaning the idea of comics that slavishly follow their movie and television counterparts.

And on the comic book front, we discuss:

  • Batman #48, written by Scott Snyder with art by Greg Capullo,
  • Titans Hunt #4, written by Dan Abnett with art by Stephen Segovia, and:
  • I Hate Fairyland #4, written and drawn by Skottie Young!

And, even after 100 episodes, the disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape, with minimal editing. While this might mean a looser comics podcast than you’re used to, it also means that anything can happen. Like learning that, on some level, the only difference between Star Wars and Barney Miller is finger counting.
  • This show contains spoilers. We try to give you warnings ahead of time, but go into this assuming that we are going to screw up your ability to think of Star Wars without contemplating the sweet release of death.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Do you think your employer’s life will be enriched by learning the origin of the phrase, “The Wet Thunk”? Then get yourself some headphones.

Thanks for listening for 100 episodes, suckers!

lee_didio_meet_publishers_sdcc_2013616921976We are coming up on the final bits and pieces of coverage we took from this year’s San Diego Comic-Con – yes, I know the convention ended eight days ago, but it turns out we had a lot of video to sort through, and a significant percentage of that video needed extensive processing on an actual computer in order to make it into something that YouTube would recognize as a video file, as opposed to some form of data wad, or perhaps a Word file detailing our manifesto and list of demands.

But the computer has done its work and dinged like a toaster oven (as we all know computers do), so we are finally proud to present a series of videos from DC Comics’s Meet The Publishers panel, held on Sunday, July 21st and featuring Co-Publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio. And you can say what you want about, say, DiDio (God knows we do, repeatedly), but there is no denying that the guy runs an entertaining panel with an infectious enthusiasm, which even Lee gets caught up in.

This was a fun panel, and we’re happy to bring you, a day late and a buck short, a small piece of it, along with some art that was shown to crowd at the panel. You can check them out after the jump.

superman_unchained_1_cover_2013I’ve had some issues with Superman ever since his New 52 reboot. Because frankly, through the eyes of hindsight, Superman’s reboot was kind of a schizo mess.

On one hand, we had Grant Morrison on Action Comics, showing Superman as a kid in a t-shirt with a reduced powerset punching out millionaires. At the same time, Superman was going full blast in his own title, separated from Lois Lane and having big adventures, all while the original writer was screeching about editorial interference and jumping off midstream, leaving the title in the capable hands of the man who rebooted Starfire to be an amnesiac cockmonger. In the meantime, Morrison made Superman’s invulnerability partially contingent on some weird Kryptonian battle armor, and then Geoff Johns had Superman start chucking the meat to Wonder Woman. And that’s all if you ignore what’s happening in the out-of-continuity, video game tie-in title Injustice: Gods Among Us, where Superman is following “The American Way,” if by that you mean, “Ruthlessly enforcing order through the use of constant pervasive surveillance.”

That’s all gone on in just 21 months, and while it might be all well and good for your average rabid comics fan, there’s not much that screams, “It’s Superman!” to Joe Blow on the street… and that is a problem when DC’s last, best hope for creating a Marvel-style movie empire is Man of Steel – a Superman movie opening, well, tomorrow. And imagine that one-in-a-thousand moviegoer who is lucky enough to live in a neighborhood like mine, where there is a movie theater a block away from a comic store, and who leaves Man of Steel, wanders to that comic store and buys everything he sees with Superman on the cover… only to find a dude in armor making out with Wonder Woman when he isn’t incinerating banana republics for disobeying his orders.

Enter Scott Snyder, Jim Lee and Superman Unchained: a Superman story that uses the new costume and Superman’s New 52 status quo, but is still identifiably an old-school Superman story with an identifiable Big Blue Boy Scout, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and everything else that that mythical Some Dude Walking Into A Comic Store After Man of Steel might expect. And it should act as a pretty solid entry point for any non-comic readers that Man of Steel might attract…

…except for that fucking poster, which is an abominable choice.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I’ve had the blues, the reds and the pinks; one thing’s for sure: love spoils.

Well, that’s the end of the first year of the first post-reboot Justice League since Crisis On Infinite Earths back in 1986. That Justice League, at the end of its first year, had established itself as a solid action book with an interesting character-based humor element… and was already on its way to becoming far more focused on the comedy than it was on the action. It short, its best days were already gone by that first anniversary, having given or on its way to giving Guy Gardner a 70s sitcom level personality change, The Martian Manhunter an Oreo fetish, and Booster and Beetle a harebrained get-rich-quick scheme of the month.

So how does Justice League #12 compete? Well, by going in the opposite direction, coming out of an only okay character-based story while promising, in a Geoff Johns patented epilogue, action-packed tales including an attack by Atlantis, battles between Superman and Batman and Shazam, and a possible conflict between The Justice League and the recently-announced Johns and David Finch produced Justice League of America.

Oh, and it seems that we will spend some time witnessing Superman boning Wonder Woman. But you already knew that, and we’ll get back to that in a minute.

You might have heard that, starting in Justice League #12, writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee will be starting a storyline where Superman and Wonder Woman take their relationship, shall we say, to the next level. They go from friends, to friends with benefits, provided my “benefits” you mean “The Kryptonian Armpit Gank.”

We didn’t jump on this story here at Crisis On Infinite Midlives because, after nearly 40 years of reading comics, this isn’t our first rodeo – we’ve seen these two crazy kids bump overidealized comic book uglies in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Strikes Again, and saw it intimated in Mark Waid and Alex Ross’s Kingdom Come, plus if you can spell the words “comic” and “slash” and find the enter key on your laptop, you can get all the super sucky-fucky you can shake your stick at. Besides, these things come and go in the comics – remember when Batman almost chucked the Bat Meat to Zatanna? These things never last, and we figured we’d address it in our review of the issue.

That is, until DC decided to hype the story by setting up profiles for Superman and Wonder Woman on

It’s not even a year yet, but Bleeding Cool is running an article that reports DC is “making a number of approaches to what could only be described as the A-List of modern comics to sign up for a twelve issue run on Justice League, to replace Jim Lee.” While Geoff Johns will remain on the book as the writer, apparently DC is looking to lock down art talent for the next few years – including as yet unnamed individuals who are currently working for Marvel. Oooo! The plot thickens!

Just who could or would step into Jim Lee’s shoes? Could it be frequent Johns’s collaborator, Ivan Reis? Would DC steal Marc Silvestri back from whatever projects he’s engaged in, assuming he’s done icing his shoulder after penciling those couple Incredible Hulk books last fall and that variant cover of The Walking Dead #100 for Robert Kirkman over at Image? Would DC lure Greg Land away from Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men to turn his pornbox light on for Wonder Woman?

This past weekend, DC Entertainment Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee attended the Los Angeles Festival of Books. Why attend a straight book festival when the perfectly good Boston Comic Con was occurring on the same weekend? I’m guessing because if you’re gonna be forced to answer difficult and uncomfortable questions about the upcoming Before Watchmen, it’s probably easier to do it when they’re not being asked by, say, Fat Hispanic Superman.

And, at the DC Entertainment Presents: Watchmen – It’s Not The End, It’s The Beginning panel, difficult questions were asked, specifically related to the commonly held perception that the stack of prequel miniseries were personally and intimately screwing Alan Moore in a way that makes American prison showers so inviting. Specifically, one panelist asked Lee how he reconciled Moore’s issues with the prequels:

Justice League #6 is the most memorable and remarkable of the title’s relaunch for two reasons, the first being that it is packed with the kind of cover-to-cover superhero action that you want from a team comic book. The second is that it contains a splash page depicting Cyborg with a stance and facial expression that, minus any context, looks like he’s taking a savage and angry dump so terrible it might alter his religious beliefs. Which is as good an example of the schizo feeling this book has instilled in me for the past six months.

Let’s start off for a change on a positive note: this is one hell of a superhero fight. Writer Geoff Johns establishes the stakes early, showing a desperate family trying to escape the Armageddon that is occurring as Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Cyborg battle Darkseid in the middle of a city. The battle is visceral, the feeling that the heroes are throwing every Goddamned thing they can think of at Darkseid, who is drawn by Jim Lee as solid, giant and implacable. This is the kind of epic throwdown that I’ve been wanting from Justice League from the word go… which is a damn good thing because many of the characters still act as if they’re recovering from a partial lobotomy.

Johns’s characterizations have been problematic throughout this arc. Yes, I understand this is a reboot, but the youngest character in this book, in terms of creation date, is Cyborg, who has almost a third of a century of previous characterization history behind him. And sometimes we get glimmers of the long-established behaviors of the characters, but other times they act like they were created by Rob Liefeld in a 1990 cocaine twitch. Sometimes within two panels.